Sold to a private collector
Racetrack Tout Trade Figure
Attributed to Charles Parker Dowler (1841-1931) Providence, RI, circa 1880
White pine, with original paint history
Courtesy of David A. Schorsch American Antiques, Inc.
This racetrack tout is recognized as an icon of American folk sculpture. It is one of several figures attributed to Charles Parker Dowler, a woodworker first identified by Jane Lipman as the maker of a nearly identical figure illustrated in her pioneering book, American Folk Art in Wood, Metal, and Stone (1948). Frederick Fried attributed another virtually identical tout to Dowler in his Artists in Wood (1972). Examples of similar figures are in The Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Penn., The American Museum in Britain, Bath, England, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., and in an American private collection.
Adele Earnest (19011933), the Stony Point, N.Y., dealer who was among the first to specialize in American folk sculpture, once sold this figure. Later it became a cornerstone of the legendary folk art collection formed by Stewart E. Gregory (1913-1976) of Wilton, Conn. In 1972 it was included in the exhibition An Eye on America: Folk Art from the Stewart E. Gregory Collection, at the Museum of American Folk Art (now The American Folk Art Museum) in New York City.